Friday, 1 July 2011


Volunteer Falangists (Fascist) militia enter a town to drive out the Red terror.
(click on photo to enlarge)

Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies

Gil Robles's influence, as a spokesman for the right in the new parliament, waned. The National Block, a smaller coalition of monarchists and Fascists led by Jose Calvo Sotelo, who had sought the army's cooperation in restoring Alfonso XIII, assumed CEDA's (the conservative Catholic party) role. Calvo Sotelo was murdered in July 1936, supposedly in retaliation for the killing of an officer of the Communist dominated Urban Police (later known as the Assault Guards) by Fascists. Calvo Sotelo's death was a signal to the army to act on the failure of the civilian government to restrain the lawless,i.e. revolutionary activities of Stalinist Communists, Trotskyite Communists, Anarchists, and assorted liberals. The army issued a pronunciamiento, and a coup was expected. The Urban Police (Communist Assault Guards) and the Anarchist Workers' Militia, the UGT rallied to support the Red dominated Popular Front government and put down revolts by army garrisons in Madrid and Barcelona. Navy crews spontaneously purged their ships of officers. The army and the left rejected the eleventh-hour efforts of Indalecio Prieto (who had succeeded Azana as prime minister) to arrive at a compromise.
The army was most successful in the north, where General Emilio Mola had established his headquarters at Burgos. North-central Spain and the Carlist strongholds in Navarre and Aragon rallied to the army. In Morocco, elite units seized control under Franco, Spain's youngest general and hero. Transport supplied by Germany and Italy ferried Franco's African army, including Moorish auxiliaries, to Andalusia. Franco occupied the major cities in the south before turning toward Madrid to link up with Mola, who was advancing from Burgos. The relief of the army garrison besieged at Toledo, however, delayed the attack on Madrid and allowed time for preparation of the capital's defense. Army units penetrated the city limits, but they were driven back, and the marxist/anarchist/liberal coalition were able to retain the city.
A junta of generals, including Franco, formed a government at Burgos, which Germany and Italy immediately recognized. Sanjurjo, who had been expected to lead the army movement, was killed in a plane crash during the first days of the uprising. In October 1936, Franco was named head of state, with the rank of generalissimo and the title el caudillo (the leader).
When he assumed leadership of the Nationalist/Fascists forces, Franco had a reputation as a highly professional, career-oriented, combat soldier, who had developed into a first-rate officer. Commissioned in the army at the age of eighteen, he had volunteered for service in Morocco, where he had distinguished himself as a courageous leader. Serious, studious, humorless, withdrawn, and abstemious, he had won the respect and the confidence of his subordinates more readily than he had won the comradeship of his brother officers. At the age of thirty-three, he had become the youngest general in Europe since Napoleon Bonaparte.
Franco opposed Sanjurjo in his attempted1932 army coup; still, Azana considered Franco unreliable and made him captain general of the Canaries, a virtual exile for an ambitious officer. Though by nature a conservative, Franco did not wed himself to any particular political creed. On taking power, he set about to reconcile all right-wing, anti-republican groups in one Nationalist organization. The Falange, a Fascist party founded by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera (the General's son), provided the catalyst. The Carlists, revived after 1931, merged with the Falange in 1937, but the association was never harmonious. Jose Antonio's execution by the red/left coalition government provided the Falange with a martyr.

Nationalist/Fascist strategy called for separating Madrid from Catalonia (which was firmly under the control of the communists (both Stalinists and Trotskyites)/liberal coalition, so called Republican), Valencia, and Murcia (which the republic also controlled). The Republicans stabilized the front around Madrid, defending it against the Nationalists for three years. Isolated Asturias and Vizcaya, where the newly organized Basque Republic fought to defend its autonomy without assistance from Madrid, fell to Franco in October 1937. Otherwise the battle lines were static until July 1938, when Fascist forces broke through to the Mediterranean Sea south of Barcelona. Throughout the Civil War, the industrial areas--except Asturias and the Basque provinces--remained in communist/leftist hands, while the chief food-producing areas were under Fascist control.
The Communist (Stalinist faction) dominated government lacked a regular trained army, though a number of armed forces cadres had remained loyal, especially in the air force and the navy. Many of the loyal officers were either purged or were not trusted to hold command positions. The Workers' Militia and independently organized armed political units like those of the Trotskyite Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista--POUM) bore the brunt of the fighting in the early months of the Civil War. For example, the Anarchist UGT Militia and the Assault Guards (the urban police corps established by the Red/left faction controlling the Spanish government to counterbalance the Civil Guard--Guardia Civil--the paramilitary rural police who were generally considered Fascist) crushed the army garrison in Barcelona. Moscow provided advisers, logistics experts, and some field-grade officers. Foreign volunteers, including more than 2,000 left wingers of all stripes from the United States, formed the International Brigade. The Communists pressed for, and won, approval for the creation of a national, conscript Republican Army.
The Soviet Union supplied arms and munitions to the republic from the opening days of the Civil War. France provided some aircraft and artillery. The republic's only other conduit for arms supply was through Mexico. The worker's revolts and strikes called "spontaneous revolutions" plagued the industrial centers and hampered arms production within Spain.
Nationalist/Fascist strength was based on the regular army, which included large contingents of Moroccan troops and battalions of the Foreign Legion, which Franco had commanded in Africa. The Carlists, who had always maintained a clandestine militia (Requetes), were among Franco's most effective troops, and they were employed, together with the Moroccans, as a shock corps. Italian Premier Benito Mussolini (Fascist premier, 1922- 45) dispatched more than 50,000 Italian Fascist volunteers to Spain, along with air and naval units. The German Condor Legion, distinguished by wiping out a nest of communists in Guernica, provided air support for the Nationalists/Fascists.

A nonintervention commission, including representatives from France, Britain, Germany, and Italy, was established at the Lyon Conference in 1936 to stem the flow of supplies to both sides. France and Britain were concerned that escalating foreign intervention could turn Spain's Civil War into a European war. The commission and coastal patrols supplied by the signatory powers were to enforce an embargo. The net effect of the nonintervention agreement was to cut off French and British aid to the Reds, now firmly in the ascendancy in the Spanish government. The Soviet Union was not a signatory to the agreement however and more than made up for this loss. Also Germany and Italy did not observe the agreement.

While the Red coalition, preposterously called "Republicans," resisted the Nationalists/Fascists by all available means, another struggle was going on within their own ranks. A few fought essentially to protect republican institutions. Others, including the Stalinist Communists, were committed to finishing the Civil War before beginning their anticipated revolution. They were, however, resisted by comrades-in-arms--the Trotskyite Communists and Anarchists--who were intent on completing the social and political revolution while waging war against the Nationalists/Fascists.
Largo Caballero, who became prime minister in September 1936, had the support of the Socialists and of the Stalinist Communists, who were becoming the most important political factor in the republican government. The Communists, after successfully arguing for a national conscript army that could be directed by the government, pressed for elimination of the militia units. They also argued for postponing the revolution until the Fascists had been defeated and encouraged greater participation by the bourgeois parties in the Popular Front. The UGT, increasingly under Communist influence, entered into the government, and the more militant elements within it were purged. POUM, which had resisted disbanding its independent military units and merging with the Communist-controlled national army, was ruthlessly suppressed as the Communists undertook to eliminate competing leftist organizations. Anarchists were dealt with in similar fashion, and in Catalonia a civil war raged within a civil war.
Fearing the growth of Soviet influence in Spain, Largo Caballero attempted to negotiate a compromise that would end the Civil War. He was removed from office and replaced by Juan Negrin, a pro Communist socialist with little previous political experience.
The Communist led Republican Army, its attention diverted by internal political battles, was never able to mount a sustained counteroffensive or to exploit a breakthrough such as that on the Rio Ebro in 1938. Negrin realized that his Communist/liberal/Marxist coalition government could not win the war, but he hoped to prolong the fighting until the outbreak of a European war, which he thought was imminent.
Barcelona fell to the Nationalists/Fascists in January 1939, and Valencia, the temporary capital, fell in March. When factional fighting broke out in Madrid among the city's defenders, the Republican Army commander seized control of what remained of the government and surrendered to the Nationalists/Fascists on the last day of March, thus ending the Civil War.
There is as much controversy over the number of casualties of the Spanish Civil War as there is about the results of the 1936 election, but even conservative estimates are high. The most consistent estimate is 600,000 dead from all causes, including combat, bombing, and executions. In the Republican sector, tens of thousands died of starvation, and several hundred thousand more fled from Spain.
Data as of December 1988

NOTE: The information regarding Spain in this posting is taken from The Library of Congress Country Studies and edited for use on this blog.

Communist Soviet Aid Flows to the "Republicans."

Stalin decided to send military aid to the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. The first shipment of tanks and tank specialists left for Spain in September 1936. The cargo ship Komsomol arrived at the port of Cartagena on 12 October 1936 with a shipment of 50 T-26 light tanks and 51 "volunteer" tank specialists. In the meantime, the Soviet military attaché at the Madrid embassy, Kombrig Vladimir Gorev, had arranged for the creation of a training center near the town of Archene in Mursia, about 90 km. from the port.

Fascist Militia Point Out "COMINTERN" (Communist International) Marking on Truck Captured from "Republican" Forces.

Soviet Made T-26 Tank, Delivered to So Called "Republican" Forces.


General Miguel Primo de Rivera, father of Jose' Antonio Primo de Rivera and saviour of the Kingdom of Spain from an early Red takeover.

"We have reason on our side and, therefore, force, though so far we have used force with moderation. If an attempt is made to trick us into a compromise which our conscience considers dishonourable, we shall demand greater penalties, and impose them with greater severity. Neither I, nor the garrisons of Arragon, from whom I have just received a telegram in support, will agree to anything but a (temporary) military dictatorship. If the politicians make an attempt to attack us and our program of national reform, we shall defend ourselves relying on the help of the people, whose reserves of energy are great. Today we are resolved on moderation, but, on the other hand, we shall not shrink from bloodshed."
General Miguel Primo de Rivera

After a rapid and brilliant military career in Cuba, the Philippines, and Morocco, he became governor of Cádiz (1915), then in turn captain general of Valencia, Madrid, and Catalonia. From Catalonia he staged a coup d'etat in September 1923, dissolving the Cortes and then establishing, with the full approval of King Alfonso XIII, a military directory. The constitution of 1876 as well as civil liberties were suspended. The military dictatorship was replaced by a civil one (1925); both ruled quite moderately, without the brutalities and extreme repression that characterized later dictatorships. Miguel Primo de Rivera ended the war in Morocco (1926), introduced many measures aimed at economic modernization and administrative reform, and launched an ambitious program of public works, but his rule aroused the opposition of anarcho-syndicalists, Catalan regionalists, and all liberals. His regime was naive, but it was a basically generous and inclusive one. Spain under him would develop economically, and all Spaniards would share the benefits. There were public works, greater employment, more schools, sanitary improvements, and attention given to worker's rights. An uprising in 1929 by the liberals did not succeed, but various political and economic failures of the regime soon led to his resignation (Jan., 1930). He died in exile in Paris, reportedly of a broken heart.

The Life of José Antonio Primo de Rivera

“Fascism was born to inspire a faith not of the Right (which at bottom aspires to conserve everything, even injustice) or of the Left (which at bottom aspires to destroy everything, even goodness), but a collective, integral, national faith.”
José Antonio Primo de Rivera

José Antonio Primo de Rivera was born in Madrid Spain on April 24, 1903. He grew up in a healthy and loving family environment. He was the son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera who was the Leader of Spain from 1923 to 1930. José Antonio studied law in Madrid where he became a lawyer. Strongly influenced by the Italian Fascist Party he set about creating an organization similar in a lot of ways to the Fascists but more uniquely Spanish in nature. On October 29th 1933 at the "Theatre of Play" of Madrid, he gave a speech where he formed the Spanish Falange.

Another group that was very close to the Spanish Falange at the time were the National Syndicalists (JONS) which was headed by Ledesma Ramos. In February 1934 the two organizations joined to become one (FE-JONS) and José Antonio was made it's leader.

In early 1936 José Antonio was elected to the Spanish Parliament known as the Cortes. Being a legally elected official mattered little to the Leftist ruled government in Madrid, to them José Antonio was a symbol of everything they feared, Patriotism, Discipline, Morality and Spirituality. There was no way they were going to allow the Falangists to gain any kind of power in Spain, legitimate or otherwise.

When word got back to the Spanish government that Falangists were beginning to arm themselves, they set about arresting the leaders of the Falangist movement throughout Spain, including José Antonio. The so called Republican government never did a thing to stop the Communists and Socialists from arming themselves or the criminal acts perpetrated by these two groups.

The Spanish Falange was declared an illegal organization and on June 5th 1936 José Antonio was incarcerated in Alicante Prison. The Falange grew into one of the most powerful movements in Spain while José Antonio was in prison.

On November 18th 1936, José Antonio wrote, "Condemned to death yesterday, I pray God that if He does not still spare me from coming to that last trial, He may preserve in me up to the end the seemly submission with which I contemplate it, and that in judging my soul He may apply to it not the measure of my merits but that of His infinite Mercy''. Two days later on November 20th, José Antonio was placed up against a wall, and with Prayer on his lips and forgiveness for the enemies about to execute him, he was murdered.

José Antonio died like a Man, he died a Hero, a Martyr and a Saint. It is no wonder that in this day and age of immorality and anti-heroes, that José Antonio stands out like a Beacon of Light with an ever growing popularity and following throughout, not only Spain but the rest of the World as well.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

José Antonio Primo de Rivera

"When your sons inherit the uniforms you now flaunt, they will with them inherit either the shame of hearing it said, "When your father wore this uniform what was once Spain ceased to exist," or the pride of remembering, "Our Spain did not succumb because my father and his brothers-in-arms saved her in the moment of truth." If you do, as the old version of the oath says, "May God reward you," and if you do not, may he call you to account."
José Antonio Primo de Rivera

The Spanish Martyr:
José Antonio Primo de Rivera
Just a few days after the Falange had formed, its first member was killed. José Antonio had asserted that violence would be necessary, and he was absolutely realistic. Many attempts were made on his life, including once when a bomb was thrown at his vehicle. Jose Antonio reacted by getting out of his car and attempted to shoot the assailants. He did not shudder at the price of freedom of speech. Night after night there were reports of "suspect Fascists" being arrested or gunned down. In the speech of the founding of the Falange Jose Antonio declared, "We are not going to that place [the Cortes] to squabble with the habitues over the insipid scraps of an unclean feast. Our place is outside…our place is in the open air, under the clear night sky, sword in hand and stars above".

"One achieves true human dignity only when one serves. Only he is great who subjects himself to taking part in the achievement of a great task."
José Antonio Primo de Rivera

In early 1936 José Antonio was elected to the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes. Being a legally elected official mattered little to the leftist/Red coalition that ruled the government in Madrid, to them José Antonio was a symbol of everything they feared, patriotism, discipline, morality and spirituality. There was no possibility they would ever allow the Falangists to gain any kind of power in Spain, legitimate or otherwise.

José Antonio was an intense intellectual and studied the works of philosophers and political thinkers such as Spengler, Keyserling, Marx, Lenin, Ortega, Mussolini, and Trotsky. He went to the University of Madrid to study law and after military service he began a career as a lawyer in 1925. When his father’s memory was being made a mockery of in the Cortes (parliament), he became involved in politics gave speeches defending the policies of his father and finally decided to run for parliament. The more they attacked and ridiculed his father, the more antagonistic he became toward their insistence on middle-class liberal democracy and parliamentary forms. His disdain for the political realm would inspire in him a theory for a political system that would retain the positive aspects of his father’s regime and create others that would fix the faults. José Antonio also edited the right-wing journal, El Fascio. After it was shut down by the Republican government he wrote for the periodical ABC.

A crackdown on the Fascists was implemented. Fearful of what he might impress his followers to do, the left/red coalition that controlled the so called "Republican" government kept him in jail for several months. In his Last Will and Testament José Antonio notes that it was not until five to six days before he wrote this statement that he was informed of the charges upon his indictment. On November 20, 1936, José Antonio Primo de Rivera was marched out of his cell in Alicante prison and with a crucifix in his hand and "prayer on his lips" for forgiveness for the enemies about to murder him, was executed by a firing squad. José Antonio died like a Man, he died a Hero, a Martyr and a Saint. His death was not reported until one year later and where his remains were was unknown

The Seige of El Alcázar

The flag of the Spanish Falange

By July 22, the Republicans controlled most of Toledo and sought the surrender of the Alcázar by artillery bombardment or starvation. For the duration of the siege, the Nationalists engaged in a passive defense, only returning fire when an attack was imminent.
Colonel Moscardó was called on the telephone by the chief of the Worker's Militia on the morning of July 23 in Toledo and told that if the Alcázar were not surrendered within ten minutes, his son Luis would be shot. Colonel Moscardó asked to speak to his son and his son asked what he should do. His father replied, "then commend your soul to God, shout 'Viva España' and die like a hero." To which the son said, "That is quite simple. Both I will do." Colonel Moscardó then told the chief of the Worker's Militia that he would not surrender the Alcázar and a few minutes later he received a call stating that his son had been shot. A similar story is found in the Reconquista when Guzmán el Bueno refused to surrender Tarifa to the Moors.

An envoy from the Republicans, Major Rojo, was sent to Colonel Moscardó on September 9 to ask for the surrender of the Alcázar. This was refused, but Colonel Moscardó requested for a priest to be sent to baptize the two children born during the siege and to also say Mass.
Vázquez Camarassa, a Madrid preacher with left-wing views, was sent to the Alcázar during the morning of September 11, performed the necessary functions and issued a General Absolution to the defenders of the Alcázar. That evening, Major Rojo met with Colonel Moscardó for the release of the women and children. The women unanimously replied that they would never surrender and if need be would take up arms for the defense of El Alcázar.

El Alcázar After the Siege.

Women Search the Ruins for the Bodies of Dead Husbands and Sons.
Anarchist Militia Attack El Alcázar.